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Chances and challenges in the China corporate market

12 Feb 2009

China’s economic potential is an undisputed fact, and so is the presence of challenges when doing business there as well.

Amadeus, an expert in global technology and distribution, and research firm PhoCusWright released a report this week based on interviews with 112 China-based corporate executives reiterating the reality on the ground for companies be they multinational, private domestic or state owned.

Salient findings of the report, Corporate Travel Management and Practices in China include:

Use of IT remains limited. The use of automated IT systems remains limited with 80 percent of companies interviewed continuing to use paper forms to some extent within their travel management procedures. Related to this, credit cards are not widely used and cash remains the dominant form of payment. More than 90 percent of respondents give employees cash advances to cover travel expenses.

Travel defined by government. The role of the State is an important issue in the complex workings of corporate travel management. This means companies must have a detailed understanding of the domestic regulatory environment, and a strong professional relationship with Travelsky, China’s lone government-approved computer reservation system (CRS) provider, a prerequisite for all travel management companies in the country.

Localised processes are vital. Localised processes, operations and technological capabilities are indispensable. Due to the insular nature of much of the national industry, travel management companies have had to create bespoke systems to be able to interface with domestic technology. Such systems are rarely compatible with existing global technologies and are subject to complex licensing process. All systems must also designed to interface with double byte Chinese characters.

Other report findings reveal the domestic corporate travel market to have expanded significantly over the past 20 years and to continue to grow exponentially. IT penetration is also expected to strengthen, driven by growth of credit card adoption and spread of broadband infrastructure. The swelling of the ranks of tech-savvy under-35s will also further increase use of technology.

For more details, visit www.amadeus.com/corporations.

Margie T Logarta

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